Stories and thoughts from day to day life in the Bullard Family

Book Review: Sleeping Through the Night June 30, 2011

Filed under: Book Review — parentsong @ 11:33 pm
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Sleeping Through the Night by Jodi Mindell*

The book covers everything about infant sleep behavior. The tone of the book is quite conversational. No references to studies or even a bibliography here.

It is not a method book, per se, though the author seems to be presenting a gradual extinction method. This method is rather simplistic and is likely to leave a parent wondering what went wrong if the baby is mildly challenging. The basic approach here is to let the baby “cry it out.” She illustrates with stories of babies crying so hard they vomit. And she tells the reader how to set up the bed so that when the baby does vomit, the sheets can quickly be changed. Hmmm, not very practical advice for sleep training if you ask me.

The author refers to “sleep associations” that make or break your baby’s ability to go to sleep, which is the same idea that Ferber’s method is built on. I think sleep associations are questionable to begin with. But this author takes it one step further by identifying “negative” and “positive” sleep associations, which is not one of Ferber’s ideas. It may be one of her own or something she picked up from training as a psychologist. Negative sleep associations are identified as the parent or anything that will not be present when the baby wakes (such as a music box or pacifier). Positive sleep associations are the presentation of the room as the child falls asleep (a cuddly toy in a dark room). I have not read this anywhere else and I’m not sure about it because it can become rather ambiguous, depending on how one views positive or negative associations.

The author gives advice of what do in certain situations, such as the child jumping out of the crib, teething, setting limits, moving, traveling, etc. Everything in this book seems to get equal attention. All aspects of sleep, from birth to adulthood, are covered in a paragraph or two each. In this way, everything is sort of glossed over. This seems to make it is more of an “introduction” to sleep. The book will likely train parents more than children (such as if the parent is truly interfering with the child’s ability to sleep).

In all honesty, I did not even want to spend the time reviewing this book. I suppose it is because I have read some very helpful books on sleep and this one offers no new information. I also did not like how the information was presented. For me, I need to know why certain things work and why they do not. I like for the author to have some philosophical background so that I know where they are coming from. This book feels very empty to me, as though the author has never actually had to teach a child to sleep.

*I realize this review is quite biased and less objective than I like reviews to be; my apologies.